The Expanse (S02E03) “Static”

drones

As promised, Earth destroyed Deimos. The Martian crew watches the news coverage with a lot of concern (it’s like watching a slow-motion car wreck..a little like the US right now). Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) says what everyone else is thinking, “there’s no way this goes anywhere but war.” Bobbie quells the bullying of the the Martian who was born on Earth (Private Travis (Mpho Koaho)).

Errinwright (Shawn Doyle) and Avasarala (Shohreh Agdashloo) discuss the loss of Deimos and the significance of losing a moon. Errinwright is advocating for defanging Mars and asserts they are weaker, but Avasarala KNOWS how tough they are (and we see the Martians training on the Scirocco).
mad-holden

The Rocinante crew are tallying the damage taken by the fight over Phoebe. Poor Miller (Thomas Jane) is pulling up the rear of all the prisoners, in cuffs. Holden (Steven Strait) looks like he wants to kill Miller where he stands, but Fred Johnson (Chad Coleman) protects him. After Holden is more or less dragged away, Johnson tells Miller to pick any departing freighter and be on it. Miller looks hang dog. He pops into the local bar to drown his troubles, when Amos (Wes Chatham) appears with Miller’s practically empty duffle. Naomi (Dominique Tipper) gave him some cancer med packs. Miller asks Amos to join him and Amos proceeds to guzzle from Miller’s bottle, prompting Miller to slide the bottle away from him. Amos says that none of the crew want him around. Amos explains Holden doesn’t like it when Miller kills without permission, and Miller says Amos wouldn’t have asked permission either. Amos says that he has more faith in Holden being a better judge of character than Amos would be – we get a peek into the fact that Amos doesn’t like himself very much. Hmm, a recurring theme for maybe ALL of the Rocinante crew. Miller is extremely relieved to see that Naomi packed Julie’s necklace.
amos-and-bottle

Naomi comes into their new lux suite, ready for some sexy fun time…. BUUUUT. NO. Holden is mad at Miller and Naomi tries to get Holden to see that Miller did it to kill a mass murderer of Belters and she doesn’t think Holden can understand. Holden didn’t think Miller had the right to make that choice. And, Naomi accurately points out that HOLDEN thinks HE did. And, storms out.

Diogo (Andrew Rotilio) and his buddy meet up with Miller (THEY guzzle Miller’s booze, too). They are thrilled to death with what Miller did, but Miller is not thrilled because he thinks he’s lost that last bit of being a cop/good guy. Diogo figures out that Miller has no flop space and invites him to hang with him.

The repair chief (Fred Johnson’s 2nd in Command (Cara Gee)) on Phoebe is awestruck at the more than one near fatal hit the Roci took and compliments Alex (Cas Anvar) on successfully piloting it back. She asks if Alex is going to go back to Mars after Deimos. Alex admits they all think he died a hero on the Donnager. Repair chief eyes Naomi… It’s clear she’s attracted. She asks Naomi to play … space handball … and Naomi is happy to.

Fred takes Holden to see the prisoners and identifies the scientist that Miller saved from the Thoth Station attack as having the most knowledge. This guy Cortazar (Carlos Gonzalez-Vio) is clearly broken…sociopathic.

Back on the Scirocco, the race-baiting finally is uncontainable and Bobbie takes a swing at the Earth Martian. (Nice hook, Bobbie!) Knowing the military hierarchy, this’ll have consequences.

They begin the interrogation of Cortazar. They tell him that they need him to make a vaccine, but he’s horrified at the thought. Holden is trying to develop a rapport, but Amos knows Holden is utterly on the wrong track. Cortazar is unmoved, he’s thrilled at what he’s become.
crazy-scientist

Alex is haunted by the loss of the breach pod. He runs the Thoth Station attack sim again, and again, and again, and again… Naomi is the only one who’s actually having a good time.
horrified-amos

Miller (shaving!!) is being bombarded by “music” but the music is coming from EROS!  Miller is horrified because the Belters that the they are jamming to are dead and dying. Diogo says they are all going to war, but Miller feels like it is destiny, not like they are are all being honorable. Miller is so unhappy that the Earthers killed all the Belters for what was on Eros. Diogo bonds with Miller, and after Diogo leaves, Miller sees Julie.
diogo-and-millerbeltalowda

Naomi and Repair Chief rock out. Holden and Amos are talking to a doctor about what caused the Thoth Station scientist Cortazar to behave that way and the doctor says ALL of the prisoners were altered. Amos: “You can do that with a magnet?” He’s unhappy to find the condition is irreversible. Holden is horrified that science could make a person not feel anything at all after killing 100,000 people and wonders how to get through to someone like that.

The Commander asks Bobbie how her subordinate had his eye socket broken. Gunny asks how long they are going to eat shit before doing something about Earth and that fighters are trained to … well, fight. She points out that someone needed to release the marines’ tension.  She finds out that frustratingly, they are being deployed to take care of Ganymede, the farm of the system.

Avasarala is meeting with Cotyar (Nick Tarabay).  Cotyar is really worried about Avasarala communicating with Fred, because it is treason. She says there’s no need to hang together. Cotyar quips “oh, we most certainly will hang separately and you’ll have the better view.”  We see Fred getting Avasarala’s message. She wants to stop the war, so she’s asking for help to help divert the war between Earth and Mars. Chief warns Fred the Belters will KILL HIM if they find out he’s working with Avasarala after spacing the OPA person who put the hit on Avasarala.

Amos goes in to talk to creepy scientist. Amos baits him, knowing that this shit was like porn crack to the scientist. Amos: “Beautifully dead.” Cortazar: “Not dead, becoming.” But, becoming WHAT? And, Amos leaves him hanging…

Miller goes in the Mormon chapel to both contemplate and to meet with the representative.
miller-at-the-chapel

Creepy scientist admitted that the Phoebe scientists were deliberately infected by the protomolocule, but they weren’t enough. Holden admits he was on Eros. The scientist still views what they did to all the Eros people as “opportunity.”

Miller is looking at the Nauvoo. The representative (“recruiter”) says it’s beautiful.  Miller says “it looks like a huge metal rock tunnel to me.” It’s designed to turn into a giant farm for generations. Mr. Mormon offers Miller salvation. And, Miller sees that it’s gorgeous, but he sees another potential.

They show the Eros info to the scientist and he realizes that there are pulses coming from Eros, counting down!! He realizes it’s building something. And, the scientist says they’ll find out what it is soon.

Holden comes across Alex STILL simulating because he feels guilty for the lost breaching pod. Naomi comes back from her extended play date, and Holden brings her up to date. Holden says he knows he needs to do something and he can’t do it without Naomi and she agrees.

Bobbie comes up to the Marine she slugged and makes peace and the whole group gets back its groove.

Miller tells Fred he wants to go to Eros. And, they have the discussion about WHY Miller shot Dresden. “I didn’t kill him because he was crazy. I killed him because he was making sense.” Fred asks if he has any ideas, and Miller says yeah, and looks out the port at the Nauvoo.

I want to give a little tip of the hat to Miller, because in the book – if I recall correctly, it’s actually Miller who figures out that the bloo goo on Eros is sentient.  Hmm, I hear a book reread calling my name. As I’ve said for three reviewcaps now, these episodes are covering a LOT of ground with little to no significant loss of fidelity to the books. As usual, the visuals were really stunning. I loved the interior shots of the Mormon recruiting location/chapel. Very impressive to watch the chapel turn into a simulation and watch IT convert into farm/sunlit area. Miller has done such a good job of camouflaging himself as “Earther” when he’s clearly Belter, that the scenes of Miller with Naomi and Diogo, bonding, were quite notable. The peek into Amos’ background is intriguing. All the people on the Roci, including Miller, are damaged but talented people. They run the ship on a very minimal crew but effectively. However, will this come at a cost? Diogo was adorable. The direction was excellent and the music, subtle with occasional callbacks to the show theme is wonderful.

Grade: A

Next episode: “Godspeed” airs on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 9 p.m. on Syfy

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